Ethiopia’s Tigray forces withdraw '65 percent of fighters from frontline'

REUTERS - TIKSA NEGERI

The commander-in-chief of the Tigray rebel forces has said that 65 percent of his forces have "disengaged", a month after a ceasefire agreement over Ethiopia's war-torn northern region.

"We have started disengagement and relocation of our forces from battlelines ... out of our forces, 65 percent of them have passed through this process, disengaging from battlelines and moved to designated places," General Tadesse Worede, chief of staff of Tigray's fighters, told reporters on Saturday.

Tigray's authorities had been resisting central rule for months when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused their leadership of attacking federal army camps and sent troops into the region in 2020.

The conflict between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and pro-Abiy forces — which include regional militias and the Eritrean army — has caused an untold number of deaths, forced more than two million people from their homes and driven hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.

The two parties signed a peace deal in South Africa in November that agreed to a cessation of hostilities and unfettered aid into Tigray, as well as the disarming of TPLF fighters and re-establishment of federal authority over Tigray.

But Tadesse said there were still "forces in the areas that don't want peace", apparently referring to Eritrean soldiers and other regional Ethiopian militia.

"The problems they are creating and the abuses they're committing on the population isn't secret, so we've paused to some extent (our disengagement) in some places (to prevent) them from entering into new areas and continuing their atrocities on the population."

(AFP)


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